Clinton Portis: 'Why are you pulling your gun on me? I just ran a stop sign!'

Chris Lingebach
June 04, 2020 - 1:25 pm

Former Redskins running back Clinton Portis offered a heartfelt response to Drew Brees and the ongoing protests over George Floyd's death and ongoing racial oppression in America.

Brees has come under heavy scrutiny for comments viewed by many as insensitive to the movement, which the Saints quarterback made during an interview Wednesday. Among his remarks that have roiled New Orleans teammates and provoked backlash from sports figures all over was this one:  "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."

That was in response to a question about former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick kneeling during national anthems in 2016, in protest of police brutality. Brees had been asked how he thinks the NFL will respond if kneeling returns to the sidelines, and what his responsibility will be as a team leader.

"You've been in the locker room for four years. You've seen Kaep get blackballed," Portis said Thursday to 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. "You've heard other teammates. You've heard the conversation within the locker room of why this was actually going on."

"It was never about the flag," he said. "The flag was a deterrent to what was really going on. It was about the injustice in the community and that's where we still are. It was never about the flag. It was never about the military. It was never about the people who fought for this country that gave us our freedom to go on and move about our lives in the daily manner that we do.

"It's always been about the injustice in black communities, and now, all of a sudden, this injustice is coming to light. It's been happening since Rodney King got his butt kicked. It was happening before then – Martin Luther King marched peacefully and ended up with a bullet in his head. Malcolm X, hey, he was peaceful – he ended up with a bullet in him."

Portis took a moment to denounce people who have unjustly taken advantage of the protests, hijacking the message through what he suggested was organized looting.

"So you're talking about being peaceful, and you have some – which we've all seen – that the looters and the rioters, and some of these people that's been put in place, you haven't seen any black people pull up in a truck with bricks," he said. "You haven't seen any African-Americans go in and rob a jewelry store.

"Come on, man. These are $3-4 million heists and people getting away scot-clean. Do you really think that's the black African-American community that's doing that? Are you kidding me? We've seen people spray-painting their own business, police sitting here telling them, 'Hey, put George Floyd's name up there as well.' Some people are taking advantage of this situation."

Portis went on to provide chilling firsthand examples of police overreach, cutting to the core of the unrest that has sparked protests.

"Now, hey, is there some bad apples? Yes. Is there some bad apples in the police station? Yes," Portis said. "Everyone is not the same. But when you go to a traffic stop, if I run a stop sign, why are you pulling your gun on me? I just ran a stop sign! If I'm arguing in Waffle House, why are you tasing me? If I'm out past curfew, why are you busting my window?

"This is the understanding that we're trying to get to, because the crime wasn't that serious for us to even be in this situation. You've already made this situation bigger than it should have been by the way you approached me."

"You're running side by side because I ran a red light? Give me a ticket and send me about my day," he said. "Don't put no gun in my face. If I ran a red light, obviously I'm in a rush to get home or get somewhere because someone is depending or counting on me. So what you sticking a gun in my face for?"

Portis was among those protesting this week, holding up a sign that read: "I'm tired of running. I'm NOT a track star. STOP KILLING US." 

Watch the full interview below.